Rick’s Blackened Red Snapper

Red SnapperThe late great Paul Prudhomme, who died last year, brought Cajun cookery to national attention with his 1984 classic Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen. His most iconic recipe was “blackened redfish.” Redfish was a humble fish that suddenly was in high demand. His recipe called for scorching high heat. I made it several times and it was delicious, but set off the fire alarms.

I bought some beautiful Red Snapper today from my friend Mike Mazzeo at Guido’s Marketplace and wondered how to cook it without smoking up the kitchen.

After some research I found a kinder, gentler version of Prudhomme’s recipe on-line from Mario Batali using the Red Snapper, which is a really great fish no matter how you make it.

So I made it tonight with a few of my own tweaks and it came out great, and didn’t set off the fire alarms. I have an ancient 10-inch cast iron skillet, which works like a charm. Once you make the spice mixture, the rest is just keeping an eye on the heat of your pan.

If you don’t like hot and spicy food this one is probably not for you (though if you substitute more Paprika for the Cayenne you can make it less hot.) This recipe is for two, but can be doubled by doing more batches. Add more oil and butter before starting a new batch.

Cajun Seasoning Mixture:

1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
1 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1 Teaspoon Ground White Pepper
1 Teaspoon Paprika (I used Smoked Paprika because I love it)
1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano

2 6-8 ounce fresh Red Snapper fillets about ½ inch to ¾ inch thick.

1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil.
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter.

Heat a cast iron pan over medium high heat until it is hot and add the oil and butter. When the butter foams, dredge the fish fillets in the spice mixture and put them in the pan skin side down.

Cook for five minutes. Turn the fish and cook for another minute.

Remove and serve with lemon wedges.

(Photo: R.L. Floyd, 2016)

“Turning the World Upside Down”

“When the mob could not find Paul and Silas, they dragged some believers before the city authorities, shouting, ‘These people who have been turning the world upside down have come here also.’” Acts 17:6

WorldPaul and Silas got in big trouble in Thessalonica. Paul preached for several days, explaining that Jesus was the Messiah and that he had to suffer and die. Many listeners were convinced and followed them.

But there was backlash. Luke writes, “They formed a mob and set the city in an uproar.” They said, “These people who have been turning the world upside down have come here also.”

They didn’t mean it as a compliment, but “turning the world upside down” is exactly what the Good News about Jesus did that day.

And when I look around at our world today I long for it to be “turned upside down.” I wonder what would it take for us to be accused of “turning the world upside down?”

What if we told of God’s radical reconciling love for the whole world that we know in Jesus? What if we told of Jesus’s concern for the poor, his acceptance of sinners, his embrace of outsiders, and his forgiveness of enemies? What if we told how he said to turn the other cheek and walk the second mile?

What if we told how Jesus told us to choose love, not hate, to choose faith not fear? What would it take?

Prayer: Your world needs turning upside down, O God, and we can’t do it without you. Give us the courage to cause some uproar on behalf of the world you love.

(This is my United Church of Christ Daily Devotional for August 19, 2016. To see the original go here. To subscribe to the Daily Devotional and receive it every day by e-mail go here.)

 

We Glorify Your Name, O God!

TyringhamWe Glorify Your Name, O God.
C.M.

We glorify your name, O God,
Through Christ, your Word made flesh.
We worship, listen for your Word,
To hear your Good News fresh.

You gather us to be made one,
You call us each by name,
We grow in Christ, your own dear Son,
We care for each the same.

You send us forth your sheep to feed,
Your grace and gifts employ,
To share our faith by word and deed,
To spread peace, love and joy.

We teach your truth to grow the mind
Of people young and old.
To live and learn, to seek and find,
Your story must be told.

We serve our neighbors in your name,
Ones we know and others.
From near and far they’re all the same,
Our sisters and brothers.

All praise and honor come your way,
The Father and the Son.
And Holy Spirit, each new day,
Until the worlds are done.

©Richard L. Floyd, 2004

(I wrote this in 2004 based on the Mission Statement of the congregation I was serving at the time. Like many of my hymn texts it is “open,” which means it is not attached to any particular tune. It is in Common Meter and can be plugged into any C.M. tune. If you try it and like it let me know which tune you have used.

Photo: R. L. Floyd, 2016. The Appalachian Trail at Tyringham Cobble, MA)

“Respecting the Mystery of God” A Devotional on Ezekiel 1:28

Gloaming“This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord.” —Ezekiel 1:28b

Bill Holladay, my former Old Testament professor, liked to remind his students of the modesty of the descriptions of God in the Bible. For example, the passage above never comes right out and pictures God. Rather Ezekiel describes “something about” God that is several steps removed. Notice that it is not “the appearance“ of God, nor “the likeness” of God, not even “the glory” of God. Instead the prophet says, “This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory” of God.

Even though Ezekiel had just described an extraordinary (and wild) vision he didn’t want to claim too much in describing God. He stretched human language about as far as it can go while still respecting the essential mystery of God.

Bill Holladay died recently so I pulled one of his books off my shelf and I came across this little gem: “It would not be too extreme to say that studying theology is learning how to say the least wrong thing about God.”

The wisdom of maintaining this modesty in our claims about God respects the mystery of God, whose vast eternity is beyond even our best human comprehension.

Prayer: Glorious God, help us always to love you, but to never claim to know more about you than we should. We thank you for the glimpses of your Divine nature you have given to us, especially in Jesus, in whose name we pray.

(This is my United Church of Christ Daily Devotional for August 4, 2016. To see the original go here. To subscribe to the Daily Devotional and receive it every day by e-mail go here. Phot: R.L. Floyd, 2016.)

“Rich in Things and Poor in Soul” A Sermon on Luke 12:13-21

self storageI don’t know about you, but I have too much stuff. Eleven years ago we moved from a sixteen-room house (a big old parsonage) to an eight-room house. Before we moved we had a huge yard sale. Still, it was a good two years before we could put both our cars into the two-car garage. This may sound like what my daughter calls a “first world-problem,” and it is!

We Americans have too much stuff, and it is not good for our souls. I grew up in a middle-class American family of five. We had a one-level ranch house with three bedrooms, two of them very small, with small closets. My brother and I shared a bunk bed. We had a one-car garage. Our house was built on a concrete slab, so there was no basement. We had an attic, just a crawl space, and my Dad had to climb up there every year to get the Christmas tree stand. Not much room to store stuff.

How things have changed! Look at the four square feet around you. That is the per-capita share of the American self-storage industry, according to the Self-Storage Association, a trade group. They say that “the country now possesses some 1.875 billion square feet of personal storage. All this space is contained in nearly 40,000 facilities owned and operated by more than 2,000 entrepreneurs, including a handful of publicly traded giants like Public Storage, Storage USA, and Shurgard.” (From Slate, “Self-Storage Nation” by Tom Vanderbilt) Continue reading

“On Our Side!” A Devotional on the Atonement

Atonement“But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.”
—1 John 2:1-2

When I was a child my siblings and I worshipped with our parents and went to Sunday school before worship. I don’t remember much about Sunday school, but I have many powerful recollections of worship.

We were Episcopalians and so worship was out of the old Book of Common Prayer, with its grand 16th century language, a good bit of which I didn’t understand. Nonetheless, my faith was shaped and formed by those words that washed over me from Sunday to Sunday.

The passage above from 1 John was often read in the service. I wasn’t exactly sure what the passage meant, but somehow I knew it meant Jesus was on my side, even amidst whatever sins might befall my little life. It was a comforting thought. Continue reading

Grilled Hoisin Sauce/lime juice/Sambal Olek marinated shrimp

shrimpWe often grill shrimp in the summer for a quick dinner. I have no single recipe, but many of my variations utilize the wonderful fresh flavors of Asia.

Here’s a marinade that people seem to enjoy:

1 TBS Hoisin Sauce

Juice of ½ of a lime

1 TSP hot pepper sauce. I like Sambal Olek or Sriracha sauce, but you can use Tabasco or Franks’s

1 TSP peanut oil

1 TSP sesame oil

1 TSP good soy sauce

Whisk it all together and marinate your cleaned and deveined shrimp for no more than a half an hour.

Thread the shrimp on skewers.

Prepare a hot fire. Cook the shrimp 3 or 4 minutes to a side.

Serve over rice or (as in this photo) lovely cold sesame noodles.

(Photo: R. L. Floyd, 2016)